TV trope: Stomping on your hat?
November 22, 2022 12:26 PM   Subscribe

I have vague recollections of tv and movie villains, who, at the end of the story and upon realizing their dastardly plans have been foiled, furiously take off their hats and begin stomping on them. A variation of this may be taking off one's hat and biting it in frustration. But I can't recall even one specific example. Did this actually happen, or is this another mysterious paint roller situation?
posted by mochapickle to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I feel like the magician in the animated Frosty the Snowman gets frustrated and jumps on the magic hat. Unfortunately, it’s a little too early in the season for me to track down the full 30 minute special, but I am really interested in reading the responses.

I was also thinking snidely whiplash, but I could still be thinking of the magician, because they looked similar to smol me.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 12:32 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]

I suspect that Yosemite Sam did this at some point.
posted by Melismata at 12:32 PM on November 22 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I can find lots of video of Sam stomping, but not on his hat! That's certainly the vibe, though!

And I should note: this would be live action.
posted by mochapickle at 12:38 PM on November 22

I remember this pretty clearly. There are some examples here under Western Animation.
posted by General Malaise at 12:40 PM on November 22 [2 favorites]

Sorry, didn’t see your update specifying live action. I remember this trope mostly from cartoons (which may have been satirizing something live action, but I don’t know).
posted by General Malaise at 12:42 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]

I think this is well over a century old, as witness this memorable particular from Twain's Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses:
7. They require that when a personage talks like an illustrated, gilt-edged, tree-calf, hand-tooled, seven- dollar Friendship's Offering in the beginning of a paragraph, he shall not talk like a negro minstrel in the end of it. But this rule is flung down and danced upon in the "Deerslayer" tale.
in which the hat is not directly exhibited, but I believe was taken for granted by his readers.
posted by jamjam at 12:45 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]

In General Malaise's TV Tropes link, there is one citation of taking off a hat and stomping on it under "Films - Live Action" and one under "Live-Action TV".
posted by polecat at 1:36 PM on November 22 [2 favorites]

Throwing down a hat in anger is definitely a thing in old black and white movies. Stomping? I don't recall that.

Here's Oliver Hardy doing it.

Here's an old man doing it in a store in present day.
posted by dobbs at 2:25 PM on November 22 [3 favorites]

taking off one's hat and biting it in frustration

I've seen this, although not for the last half-century or so, since I've been trying to focus on non-stupid movies. It's usually preceded by the hat-biter declaring, "If ________, I'll eat my hat!" Then, _________ predictably occurs.
posted by JimN2TAW at 2:59 PM on November 22

The Laurel and Hardy film “Hats Off” was very popular - and may have featured this behaviour- as recreated in the link above. But the film itself was lost.
posted by rongorongo at 3:06 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]

tvtropes: Agitated Item Stomping
posted by MollyRealized at 3:08 PM on November 22 [2 favorites]

I'll be honest, the only place I can recall seeing it personally is in this Rich Hall BBC documentary (brief but loud (but amusing) swearing); still, it's obvious he's referring to exactly what you're asking about.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:28 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]

I feel like Sheriff Rosco P Coltrane probably bit his hat in frustration more than once, and Boss Hogg probably stomped on his when those Duke Boys bested him at the end of some episode. But my memory of 40 years ago could well be paint-rollered on this.

Also, this video is the top Google search result for "hat stomp". I can't help but infer that this event was inspired by a common trope in old movies.
posted by polecat at 3:32 PM on November 22 [2 favorites]

this Rich Hall BBC documentary

Not sure what's up with the link, but the actual bit I'm referring to is at 23:28. Sorry for the confusion.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:55 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]

Feels like Three Stooges has the right blend of frustration and exasperation if you’re trawling YouTube.
posted by Iteki at 4:24 PM on November 22 [2 favorites]

In the 1956 Disney film Davy Crockett and the river pirates, antagonist Mike Fink actually is shown taking bites from his hat. Seen here at 3:30
posted by Jacen at 5:10 PM on November 22 [2 favorites]

Another Disney example: Amos Slade from The Fox and the Hound, (found via the TV Tropes).
posted by mhum at 9:40 AM on November 23

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